Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books I’m Planning to Read this Fall

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books on my Fall TBR List.  My list is a mix of books that I already own and need to finally get off of my TBR pile, plus some upcoming releases that I’m planning to acquire and read as well.  My goal is to get the five older books off my list first and then reward myself with the five new releases, but we’ll see how that goes. 😉

Top Ten Books I’m Planning to Read This Fall 

 

1. Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

today will be different thumb

I’m a huge fan of Maria Semple and her novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette so I was thrilled to hear that she has a new book coming out in October.  Her writing is just so fresh and fun and this will certainly be a book that I’ll read as soon as I can get my hands on it!

Goodreads Synopsis: The new novel from Maria Semple, author of bestselling Where’d You Go, Bernadette and writer for hit US TV shows Ellen and Saturday Night Live. Meet Eleanor Flood, who wakes up one day determined to be her best self.

Eleanor Flood is going to clean up her act, only change into yoga clothes for yoga, which today she will actually attend, and be a better version of herself. But then, as it always does, life happens. Eleanor’s husband is missing, and their son, Timby, is wearing eye shadow to school and getting into fashion battles on the playground. (It’s true that it’s Eleanor’s fault: She did put makeup in his Christmas stocking.) Just when it seems like things can’t get weirder or more in the way of Eleanor’s personal transformation, a graphic memoir called The Flood Sisters surfaces, and the dramatic story it tells reveals long-buried secrets and a sister to whom Eleanor never speaks.

With all the artistic madness, genius plotting, and bold social observation that made Bernadette a hit, TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT is a hilarious and heart filled day-in-the-life romp filtered through Maria Semple’s brilliant eyes.   (Read more…)

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2. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

born-to-run

As I shared in last week’s Top Ten Tuesday, I am a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, and while I don’t typically read much in the way of celebrity memoirs, there’s just something about Springsteen that makes me want to read about his life in his own words.  Born to Run actually comes out today, so I’m asking for it as a birthday gift because my birthday is next month. 🙂

Goodreads Synopsis:  “Writing about yourself is a funny business…But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise, to show the reader his mind. In these pages, I’ve tried to do this.”
—Bruce Springsteen, from the pages of Born to Run

In 2009, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at the Super Bowl’s halftime show. The experience was so exhilarating that Bruce decided to write about it. That’s how this extraordinary autobiography began.  Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to these pages the same honesty, humor, and originality found in his songs.

He describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger, and darkness that fueled his imagination, leading up to the moment he refers to as “The Big Bang”: seeing Elvis Presley’s debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candor, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work, and shows us why the song “Born to Run” reveals more than we previously realized.

Born to Run will be revelatory for anyone who has ever enjoyed Bruce Springsteen, but this book is much more than a legendary rock star’s memoir. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks, or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll.  (Read more…)

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3. Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

holding up the universe

I fell in love with Jennifer Niven’s writing and storytelling abilities when I read All the Bright Places, so I am so looking forward to the release of her latest book Holding Up the Universe, which sounds just as fantastic.

Goodreads Synopsis: From the author of the New York Times bestseller All the Bright Places comes a heart-wrenching story about what it means to see someone—and love someone—for who they truly are.

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything in new and bad-ass ways, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. . . . Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

Jennifer Niven delivers another poignant, exhilarating love story about finding that person who sees you for who you are—and seeing them right back..  (Read more…)

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4. Swing Time by Zadie Smith

swing time

Doesn’t this book sound amazing? I would be excited to read it even if I wasn’t already a big fan of Zadie Smith.  This one comes out on November 15th, so I’m hoping to have knocked  out a few of my older reads and reward myself with Swing Time.

Goodreads Synopsis:  An ambitious, exuberant new novel moving from north west London to West Africa, from the multi-award-winning author of White Teeth and On Beauty.

Two brown girls dream of being dancers – but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either…

Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from North-West London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.   (Read more…)

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5. Transcendent by Katelyn Detweiler

transcendent

I just received a copy of this book from the publisher and am really looking forward to reading it. I have to admit I’m a little nervous about the bombing Disney World part since that’s one of my favorite places in the world, but it still sounds like a powerful read so we’ll see how it goes.

Goodreads Synopsis:  A beautiful work of magical realism, a story about a girl in the real world who is called upon to be a hero.

When terrorists bomb Disney World, seventeen-year-old Iris Spero is as horrified as anyone else. Then a stranger shows up on her stoop in Brooklyn, revealing a secret about the mysterious circumstances surrounding Iris’s birth, and throwing her entire identity into question. Everything she thought she knew about her parents, and about herself, is a lie.

Suddenly, the press is confronting Iris with the wild notion that she might be “special.” More than just special: she could be the miracle the world now so desperately needs. Families all across the grieving nation are pinning their hopes on Iris like she is some kind of saint or savior. She’s no longer sure whom she can trust—except for Zane, a homeless boy who long ago abandoned any kind of hope. She knows she can’t possibly be the glorified person everyone wants her to be… but she also can’t go back to being safe and anonymous. When nobody knows her but they all want a piece of her, who is Iris Spero now? And how can she—one teenage girl—possibly heal a broken world? (Read more…)

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6. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

sweetbitter

Sweetbitter was on a lot of the must-read book lists earlier this year and it sounded pretty interesting and is set in NYC, my favorite city in the world, so I had picked it up with the intention of reading it this summer.  I got distracted by other books though, as we bookworms often do, and forgot I even had it until recently. I started it last night actually and so far it’s a good read.

Goodsreads Synopsis:  A lush, raw, thrilling novel of the senses about a year in the life of a uniquely beguiling young woman, set in the wild, alluring world of a famous downtown New York restaurant.

“Let’s say I was born when I came over the George Washington Bridge…”

This is how we meet unforgettable Tess, the twenty-two-year-old at the heart of this stunning first novel. Shot from a mundane, provincial past, she’s come to New York to look for a life she can’t define, except as a burning drive to become someone, to belong somewhere. After she stumbles into a coveted job at a renowned Union Square restaurant, we spend the year with her as she learns the chaotic, punishing, privileged life of a “backwaiter,” on duty and off. Her appetites—for food, wine, knowledge, and every kind of experience—are awakened. And she’s pulled into the magnetic thrall of two other servers—a handsome bartender she falls hard for, and an older woman she latches onto with an orphan’s ardor.

These two and their enigmatic connection to each other will prove to be Tess’s hardest lesson of all. Sweetbitter is a story of discovery, enchantment, and the power of what remains after disillusionment. . (Read more…)

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7. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

cinder

Over the summer, I picked up The Lunar Chronicles cheap at a local book fair.  I haven’t started reading them yet because I had a few ARCs I needed to get through first for review purposes, but I really can’t wait to start this series. It sounds so cool. Plus, once I get through them, I plan to reward myself with Melissa’s newest release, Heartless, which sounds absolutely amazing!

Goodreads Synopsis:  Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.   (Read more…)

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8. Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

girl in pieces

I just picked this book up a week or so ago and am trying to hold off until I get a few of the older books on my TBR taken care of, but I REALLY want to read it soon. It just sounds like it’s going to be such a powerful and moving read.

Goodreads Synopsis:  Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.   Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

A deeply moving portrait of a teenage girl on the verge of losing herself and the journey she must take to survive in her own skin, Kathleen Glasgow’s debut is heartbreakingly real and unflinchingly honest. It’s a story you won’t be able to look away from.  (Read more…)

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9. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand

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I keep hearing that this is a hilarious read, so I’m planning to read it once I get through Girl in Pieces since that one sounds like it’s going to be so gut-wrenching.

Goodreads Synopsis:  The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.  (Read more…)

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10. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

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This bad boy has been on my TBR pile for far too long.  I adore this series but the books are so huge that I just keep shoving them aside in favor of shorter, less daunting reads.  I may not make it by fall, but winter is coming!  (Yes, I went there, haha).  Anyway, I am determined to finish this book before the end of the year.

Goodreads Synopsis:  Here is the third volume in George R.R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings. Together, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, victim of the sorceress who holds him in her thrall. Young Robb still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. And as opposing forces manoeuver for the final showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost limits of civilization, accompanied by a horde of mythical Others—a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords.  (Read more…)

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Question:  So what books are you looking forward to reading this fall?   Are yours all new releases or are you looking to clean out some oldies as well?  I’d love to hear from you 🙂

‘This or That’ Book Tag

 this-or-that-book-tag

This is the first book tag I’ve ever been nominated to do, so thanks so much to the very kind Birdie Bookworm for tagging me and thanks to Ayunda at Tea & Paperbacks for creating this tag.  I had fun answering these questions and hope that you’ll all enjoy learning a little more about my bookish habits and preferences :).  Okay, here we go…

The Rules of the Tag:

 

  1. Mention the creator of the tag.
  2. Thank the blogger who tagged you.
  3. Choose one of the options, you don’t have to tell the reasons why you chose that but you can also do them if you want to .
  4. Tag 10 other people to do this tag to spread the love!

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The Questions:

 

1.  Reading on the couch or reading on the bed?

My favorite reading spot is actually a comfy chair that I have in my office/library, but my bed is a close second.  Any place where I can be comfortable and where it’s quiet.  The TV and video game systems are too big of a distraction if I try to read on the couch.

2.  Male main character or female main character?

While I definitely enjoy books with both, I’d have to say that as a female, I probably best relate to female main characters.  Looking at my TBR stack, I’d hazard a guess that 75% of the time when I choose a book, I go for one that has a female protagonist.

3.  Sweet snacks or salty snack while reading?

I’ve never met a snack that I didn’t like, haha, but if I have to choose, I’d probably go with something sweet because I am a chocolate fiend.  M&Ms of all varieties, but especially the Peanut, Pretzel, and Crispy ones, are my go-to snack food when I’m reading.

4.   Trilogies or quartets?

I’m sitting here trying to think if I have ever read an actual quartet and drawing a blank on every book series I’ve ever read.  Honestly though, I think I prefer trilogies.  It seems like a good number of books to fully develop a storyline without ending up with too much ‘filler’ material.  With very rare exception, I start to get bored if a series goes beyond 3 books.

5.   First person point of view or third person point of view?

I like both, but I’d say my preference is first person as it feels more personal. I will say though that I am getting a bit tired of the trend of having the first person unreliable narrator because I do prefer a narrator I can trust.

6.  Reading at night or reading in the morning?

I don’t think I’ve read in the morning since I was in college and desperately trying to finish a book in time for  class.  Reading is something that I do to relax and to help me fall asleep, so I’m definitely going to say reading at night is my favorite.

7.  Libraries or bookstores?

If there’s a book I want to read but don’t think I’ll be interested in owning, I’ll definitely go check it out from the library. I also love the Overdrive feature where you can check out e-books from the library.  That said, however, I am a big fan of bookstores.  I love to own copies of books that I enjoy and I love the atmosphere of bookstores, especially the local independent shops as opposed to the bigger chains

8.  Books that make you laugh or books that make you cry?

Looking at my list of all-time favorite books, I’m going to say my preference is books that make me cry.  I’m not sure what it says about me, but I find heartbreaking reads to be more powerful and to resonate more with me more so than funny books do. I still love a good humorous read though.

9.  Black book covers or white book covers?

Hmmm, I can’t really say I have a real preference on this one since I tend to buy paperbacks and those nearly always have bright covers.  I will say though that one of my favorite books that I own is a black leather-bound collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories with gold writing on it. That book is beautiful, so if I have to pick, I’ll say black.

10.  Character driven stories or plot driven stories?

I’m going to say character driven stories because for me, no matter how good an overall storyline may be, I need a character that I can follow along with – watch them grow, agree or disagree with their actions and motivations, etc.

 

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Nominees:

 

If they haven’t already done it, I’d like to tag the following bloggers, and I’d also like to continue the trend of reserving my other 5 tags for anyone else who would like to complete it.  If you choose to do it,  post your link below so I can read your answers 🙂

  1.  Musings of a Literary Wanderer
  2. Chrissi Reads
  3. A Haven for Book Lovers
  4. Rebel Mommy Book Blog
  5. jbelkbooks

Waiting on Wednesday – Swing Time by Zadie Smith

New WoW“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about.

My “Waiting On” Wednesday selection for this week is Swing Time by Zadie Smith.  I’m super excited about this one mainly because of how much I loved her debut novel White Teeth and because I tend to always enjoy books that explore roots and how we are shaped by where we came from. I also love books about friendships so this one just seems all around like a good fit for me. 🙂

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

swing time

Publication Date: November 15, 2016

From Amazon:

An ambitious, exuberant new novel moving from north west London to West Africa, from the multi-award-winning author of White Teeth and On Beauty.

Two brown girls dream of being dancers – but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either…

Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from North-West London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.

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Check out this advanced praise for Swing Time!

“Agile and discerning…With homage to dance as a unifying force, arresting observations…exceptionally diverse and magnetizing characters, and lashing satire, Swing Time is an acidly funny, fluently global, and head-spinning novel about the quest for meaning, exaltation, and love…This tale of friendship lost and found is going to be big.”—Booklist (starred)

“The narrative moves deftly and absorbingly between its increasingly tense coming-of-age story and the adult life of the sympathetic if naïve and sometimes troubling narrator…A rich and sensitive drama highly recommended for all readers.”—Library Journal (starred)

“A keen, controlled novel about dance and blackness steps onto a stage of cultural land mines…Smith is dazzling in her specificity, evoking predicaments, worldviews, and personalities with a camera-vivid precision…Moving, funny, and grave, this novel parses race and global politics with Fred Astaire’s or Michael Jackson’s grace.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“As ever, Smith plies her signature humor and sensitivity as she traces the contours of race and lived experience.”—ELLE.com’s Must-Read Books for Fall

“[A] powerful and complex novel…Rich and absorbing, especially when it highlights Smith’s ever-brilliant perspective on pop culture.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)

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I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by and check out your WoW selection for this week. 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 Favorite Albums of All Time

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is an All About Audio freebie —  aka top ten audiobooks you should listen to, 10 books I want to listen to on audio, 10 bands you should check out, 10 podcasts you should be listening to, 10 of my all time favorite albums, 10 songs I love, really whatever you can come up with.

I have to confess that I almost didn’t do this week’s topics since I couldn’t really come up with a bookish angle, as I don’t really do audiobooks or podcasts.  But once I read the topic in more detail and saw the musical options, I decided I could easily go that route since after books, music is my next biggest passion.  And just as with my taste in books, my taste in music is quite eclectic.  I’ve listed my top 10 favorite albums of all time this week, and they seem to be mostly classic rock, pop, and alternative hits, but I also very much enjoy R&B, a little rap, and even a few country and classic albums.  Aside from listing them and talking about why I love them, I’ve also included links to Amazon for each. If you click those links and scroll down, you can sample tracks from each album. 🙂

My Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Albums 

 

1. Bruce Springsteen – Greatest Hits

 

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Why I love it:  He’s the Boss, enough said, haha! Seriously though, I just love everything about Bruce Springsteen. He plays a mean guitar, writes incredible lyrics, and probably puts on the best concert out there. I saw him perform live when he was 62 years old and couldn’t believe his energy and stamina. 3 1/2 hours of nothing but Bruce and the E. Street Band. It was musical heaven! I love every song he’s ever written so I just had to go with the Greatest Hits Album. It’s hard to pick favorites but if I have to, I’d go with My Hometown, Hungry Heart, The River, Thunder Road, and Secret Garden.  (Listen to The Boss…)

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2. Best of Bowie

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Why I love it:  David Bowie was pure genius, truly one of the most innovative artists in all of music.  His death this year really broke my heart because I just know he had so much more music in him to share with the world.  Again, it’s so hard to pick favorites so I had to go with a greatest hits album. Some of my favorites are Changes, Young Americans, Rebel Rebel, China Girl, Modern Love, and Let’s Dance.  (Listen to Bowie…)

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3. The Lumineers

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Why I love it: I love The Lumineers because I think they have such a fresh yet simple sound, and I love the acoustic vibe.  My favorite songs on this album are Stubborn Love, Flowers in Your Hair, and Ho Hey.  (Listen to The Lumineers…)

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4. The Essential Heart

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Why I love it:  Just as I love strong female protagonists in the books I read, I also love badass female musicians and it doesn’t get much more badass than Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart.  If you’ve never heard them before, check out tunes like Barricuda, Magic Man, and Crazy on You for a small taste of just how amazing these ladies are.   (Listen to Heart…)

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5. Dave Matthews Band – Under the Table and Dreaming

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Why I love it:  I got into the Dave Matthews Band originally because they are from my home state of Virginia and they come back home all the time to perform.  This album is my favorite of theirs, so far anyway, because of awesome songs like Ants Marching,  What Would You Say, and Typical Situation.  I love these guys so much!  (Listen to Dave Matthews Band…)

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6. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Beat the Devil’s Tattoo

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Why I love it:  B.R.M.C. is just a fabulous rock band with a classic sound.  My favorite tracks on this album are the title track, River Styx, and Long Way Down.   (Listen to B.R.M.C…)

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7. The Cure – Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me

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Why I love it:  This one is a sentimental favorite because it was the first alternative record that I purchased for myself and the first record I purchased when I went off to college, so aside from it being chock full of amazing tunes, it also brings on waves of nostalgia every time I hear it.  My favorite tracks are Just Like Heaven, Why Can’t I Be You?, and One More Time.   (Listen to The Cure…)

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8. Tracy Chapman – Greatest Hits

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Why I love it:  I just love Tracy Chapman’s gorgeous vocal and her moving lyrics. My favorite tracks are Fast Car, Give Me One Reason, and Talkin’ Bout a Revolution.   (Listen to Tracy Chapman…)

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9. The Very Best of Prince

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Why I love it:  I’ve loved Prince since I was 14 years old and first listened to the Purple Rain album.  I adored him so much that I even had a huge Purple Rain poster hanging over my bed when I was in high school.  I believe that Prince was truly one of the most unique and gifted artists of our time. His untimely death earlier this year was such a tremendous loss.  I love absolutely every track on this greatest hits album.  (Listen to Prince…)

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10. Imagine Dragons – Night Visions

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Why I love it:  I just love their sound and I think they put on such an amazing live show. My favorite tracks off this album are Radioactive, Demons, On Top of the World, and It’s Time.  (Listen to Imagine Dragons…)

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Question:  Are you a music fan too?  Do we share any favorite musicians or albums?  What was your TTT topic this week?  I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Waiting on Wednesday – Spotlight on The Bear and the Nightingale

New WoW“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about.

My “Waiting On” Wednesday selection for this week is The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden.  I have to admit that the comparison in the book blurb to Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, one of my all-time favorite books, is what initially drew me to The Bear and the Nightingale. But then I had the opportunity to preview an excerpt from the book and became more excited than ever. I think this is going to be a truly exciting read and I wish I didn’t have to wait until January to get my hands on it!

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

bear-and-nightingale-th

Publication Date: January 10, 2017

From Amazon:

A magical debut novel for readers of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman’s myth-rich fantasies, The Bear and the Nightingale spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice.
 
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles nearer, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

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Check out this advanced praise for The Bear and the Nightingale!

“An extraordinary retelling of a very old tale . . . A Russian setting adds unfamiliar spice to the story of a young woman who does not rebel against the limits of her role in her culture so much as transcend them. The Bear and the Nightingale is a wonderfully layered novel of family and the harsh wonders of deep winter magic.”—Robin Hobb

“A beautiful deep-winter story, full of magic and monsters and the sharp edges of growing up.”—Naomi Novik

“Haunting and lyrical, The Bear and the Nightingale tugs at the heart and quickens the pulse. I can’t wait for her next book.”—Terry Brooks

The Bear and the Nightingale is a marvelous trip into an ancient Russia where magic is a part of everyday life.”—Todd McCaffrey

“Enthralling and enchanting—I literally couldn’t put it down. A wondrous book!”—Tamora Pierce

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I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by and check out your WoW selection for this week. 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Fantasy Reads

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books Of X Genre.  I had a hard time with this topic because I have an impossible time trying to narrow down to my all-time favorites when it comes to books.  I decided to go with Fantasy mainly because that’s the genre I’m just really getting into which meant fewer titles for me to waffle back and forth between, haha! I’ve not tried to divide this out into subgenres or anything fancy like that. Maybe I’ll do that some day when I have more titles under my belt to choose from.

As of this moment, this is my Top 10 All Time Favorite Fantasy Reads.  Quite a few of these are favorites from when I was a kid that have really stuck with me over the years, but there are also several  newer favorites though as I’ve been delving more and more into Fantasy lately.  If you have some MUST READ fantasy titles you think I might like, post them in the comments below because I’m always looking for new fantasy novels to read and you guys always give me the BEST recs. 🙂

Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Fantasy Reads 

1. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

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Goodreads Synopsis: Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who are mean to him and make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. (Dudley, however, has two bedrooms, one to sleep in and one for all his toys and games.) Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed forever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard!   (Read more…)

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2. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

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Goodreads Synopsis:  ‘They say Aslan is on the move. Perhaps he has already landed,’ whispered the Beaver. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delightful strain of music had just floated by. And Lucy got that feeling when you realize it’s the beginning of summer. So, deep in the bewitched land of Narnia, the adventure begins.

They opened a door and entered a world–Narnia–the land beyond the wardrobe, the secret country known only to Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. Lucy is the first to stumble through the back of the enormous wardrobe in the professor’s mysterious old country house, discovering the magic world beyond. At first, no one believes her. But soon Edmund, Peter and Susan, too, discover the magic and meet Aslan, the Great Lion, for themselves. And in the blink of an eye, they are changed forever.  (Read more…)

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3. The Once and Future King by T. H. White

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Once upon a time, a young boy called “Wart” was tutored by a magician named Merlyn in preparation for a future he couldn’t possibly imagine. A future in which he would ally himself with the greatest knights, love a legendary queen and unite a country dedicated to chivalrous values. A future that would see him crowned and known for all time as Arthur, King of the Britons.

During Arthur’s reign, the kingdom of Camelot was founded to cast enlightenment on the Dark Ages, while the knights of the Round Table embarked on many a noble quest. But Merlyn foresaw the treachery that awaited his liege: the forbidden love between Queen Guinevere and Lancelot, the wicked plots of Arthur’s half-sister Morgause, and the hatred she fostered in Mordred that would bring an end to the king’s dreams for Britain–and to the king himself.  (Read more…)

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4. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R. Tolkien

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Frodo Baggins knew the Ringwraiths were searching for him—and the Ring of Power he bore that would enable Sauron to destroy all that was good in Middle-earth. Now it was up to Frodo and his faithful servant Sam to carry the Ring to where it could be destroyed—in the very center of Sauron’s dark kingdom.   (Read more…)

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5. Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

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Goodreads Synopsis: Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.

The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne. (Read more…)

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6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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Goodsreads Synopsis: The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.

Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves.

Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way–a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a “game” to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

As the circus travels around the world, the feats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop. The game is well under way and the lives of all those involved–the eccentric circus owner, the elusive contortionist, the mystical fortune-teller, and a pair of red-headed twins born backstage among them–are swept up in a wake of spells and charms.

But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition but as a wonderful collaboration. With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love. A deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

Their masters still pull the strings, however, and this unforeseen occurrence forces them to intervene with dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance.

Both playful and seductive, The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern’s spell-casting debut, is a mesmerizing love story for the ages. (Read more…)

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7. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Kell is one of the last Antari, a rare magician who can travel between parallel worlds: hopping from Grey London — dirty, boring, lacking magic, and ruled by mad King George — to Red London — where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire — to White London — ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne, where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back — and back, but never Black London, because traveling to Black London is forbidden and no one speaks of it now.

Officially, Kell is the personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see, and it is this dangerous hobby that sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to take her with him for her proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save both his London and the others, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — a feat trickier than they hoped.   (Read more…)

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8. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel written by English mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as with children. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre. Its narrative course and structure, characters and imagery have been enormously influential in both popular culture and literature, especially in the fantasy genre.  (Read more…)

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9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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Goodreads Synopsis:  The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The ‘tributes’ are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.

When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.  (Read more…)

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10. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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Goodreads Synopsis:  When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she knows about only from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.  (Read more…)

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Question:  Are any of these fantasy reads your favorites too?   What was your TTT topic this week?  I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Waiting on Wednesday – Spotlight on The Wangs vs. the World

New WoW“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about.

My “Waiting On” Wednesday selection for this week is The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang.  I’m excited for this one because it just sounds like it has the potential to be a wild and entertaining ride.

The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang

wangs vs world

Publication Date: October 4, 2016

From Amazon:

Charles Wang is mad at America. A brash, lovable immigrant businessman who built a cosmetics empire and made a fortune, he’s just been ruined by the financial crisis. Now all Charles wants is to get his kids safely stowed away so that he can go to China and attempt to reclaim his family’s ancestral lands—and his pride.

Charles pulls Andrew, his aspiring comedian son, and Grace, his style-obsessed daughter, out of schools he can no longer afford. Together with their stepmother, Barbra, they embark on a cross-country road trip from their foreclosed Bel-Air home to the upstate New York hideout of the eldest daughter, disgraced art world it-girl Saina. But with his son waylaid by a temptress in New Orleans, his wife ready to defect for a set of 1,000-thread-count sheets, and an epic smash-up in North Carolina, Charles may have to choose between the old world and the new, between keeping his family intact and finally fulfilling his dream of starting anew in China.

Outrageously funny and full of charm, The Wangs vs. the World is an entirely fresh look at what it means to belong in America—and how going from glorious riches to (still name-brand) rags brings one family together in a way money never could.

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Check out this advanced praise for The Wangs vs. the World!

“One of the best debut novels of 2016″—Elle.com

“[A] jam-packed, high energy debut . . . Head-spinning fun.”—Kirkus

One of Entertainment Weekly’s Most Anticipated Titles of 2016
A Fall 2016 Barnes & Noble Discover Pick
A Publishers Lunch Fall 16 Buzz Book
A The Millions Most Anticipated Book
One of Library Journal’s “Five Big Debuts” for Fall 16

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I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by and check out your WoW selection for this week. 🙂

Waiting on Wednesday – Spotlight on “The Mothers” by Brit Bennett

New WoW“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about.

My “Waiting On” Wednesday selection for this week is The Mothers by Brit Bennett.  Why am I so excited for this novel?  Well, as if the blurb below isn’t enticing enough on its own, I was lucky enough to read an excerpt of The Mothers in Buzz Books 2016: Fall/Winter catalog.  As I was reading, I was just instantly struck by how beautiful, powerful, and honest Bennett’s writing is.  As soon as I finished the excerpt, I immediately wanted more.  I’m glad I don’t have too much longer to wait because I think The Mothers is going to end up being one of my favorite reads of 2016.

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

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Publication Date: October 11, 2016

From Amazon:

A dazzling debut novel from an exciting new voice, The Mothers is a surprising story about young love, a big secret in a small community – and the things that ultimately haunt us most.

Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett’s mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. It begins with a secret.

“All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we’d taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season.”

It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a “what if” can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.

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Check out this advanced praise for The Mothers!

One of Buzzfeed’s “21 New Books You Need to Read this Fall”

One of The Millions‘ “Most Anticipated” for the second half of 2016

“Brit Bennett is a brilliant and much-needed new voice in literature.” -Angela Flournoy, author of National Book Award-finalist The Turner House

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I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by and check out your WoW selection for this week. 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top Ten Favorite Books That Are Set at a School

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is “Back To School Freebie — anything “back to school” related like 10 favorite books I read in school, books I think should be required reading, Required Reading For All Fantasy Fans, required reading for every college freshman, Books to Pair With Classics or Books To Complement A History Lesson, books that would be on my classroom shelf if I were a teacher.”

I’ve been out of school for more years than I care to think about and so I always get a little nostalgic for my own school days as soon as I start seeing all of those school supply displays and ‘Back to School’ sales popping up in the stores.   Because my school days — K-12 as well as college — were such wonderful times in my life, I’ve always enjoying reading books that are set in schools – whether it’s boarding school or on a college campus, or even, let’s say, a school of witchcraft and wizardry 😉

And so, on that note, I bring you…

My Top Ten Favorite Books That Are Set at a School

 

1. Harry Potter (the complete series) by J.K. Rowling

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Seriously, is there anyone out there who has read these books who isn’t waiting for an owl to deliver their acceptance letter to Hogwart’s?  Just truly one of the most wonderful series I’ve ever read.

Goodreads Synopsis: Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who are mean to him and make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. (Dudley, however, has two bedrooms, one to sleep in and one for all his toys and games.) Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed forever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard! The first book in the “Harry Potter” series makes the perfect introduction to the world of Hogwarts.  (Read more…)

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2. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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A beautiful, gut-wrenching and important read that is set in a school and deals very powerfully with the subjects of mental illness and teen suicide.

Goodreads Synopsis: Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.  Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.  (Read more…)

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3. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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I actually just finished reading this book over the weekend and it immediately made its way onto my list of favorites.  It’s a really cute read that will take you right back to your own high school days and you’re pretty much guaranteed to fall in love with Oreo-obsessed Simon Spier from the very first page.

Goodreads Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.  (Read more…)

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4. The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy

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This is probably a more intense read than the first three titles, but this is one of my all-time favorite books.  It’s set at a military school in the South and is just filled with drama and scandal. It’s a real page turner and one that I’ve re-read numerous times because it’s just that good.

Goodreads Synopsis:  In this powerful, mesmerizing, and highly acclaimed bestseller, Pat Conroy sweeps us into the turbulent world of four young men–friends, cadets, and blood brothers–and their days of hazing, heartbreak, pride, betrayal, and, ultimately, humanity.  We go deeply into the heart of the novel’s hero, Will McLean, a rebellious outsider with his own personal code of honor, who is battling into manhood the hard way. Immersed in a poignant love affair with a haunting beauty, Will must boldly confront the terrifying injustice of a corrupt institution as he struggles to expose a mysterious group known as “The Ten.”   (Read more…)

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5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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The confused and introverted teenager narrator, Charlie, is why this book if such a stand-out for me.  It feels like you’re really in his head as he is struggling to find his place in the world and I just found him so completely relatable.  A wonderful coming of age story.

Goodreads Synopsis: Charlie is a freshman.  And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.  Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.  (Read more…)

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6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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An introverted writer goes off to college?  I can’t even express how much I loved and related to this book.  When I read it, it felt like Rainbow Rowell had written it with me in mind.

Goodreads Synopsis: A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.  Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan… But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.  Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.  Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?  Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?  And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?  (Read more…)

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7. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

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The reviews on this one tend to be mixed, but I found it to be a compelling read about a young woman at boarding school. Definitely a flawed character that I wanted to strangle a few times as I was reading, but still an addicting read nonetheless.

Goodreads Synopsis:  Curtis Sittenfeld’s debut novel, Prep, is an insightful, achingly funny coming-of-age story as well as a brilliant dissection of class, race, and gender in a hothouse of adolescent angst and ambition.

Lee Fiora is an intelligent, observant fourteen-year-old when her father drops her off in front of her dorm at the prestigious Ault School in Massachusetts. She leaves her animated, affectionate family in South Bend, Indiana, at least in part because of the boarding school’s glossy brochure, in which boys in sweaters chat in front of old brick buildings, girls in kilts hold lacrosse sticks on pristinely mown athletic fields, and everyone sings hymns in chapel.

As Lee soon learns, Ault is a cloistered world of jaded, attractive teenagers who spend summers on Nantucket and speak in their own clever shorthand. Both intimidated and fascinated by her classmates, Lee becomes a shrewd observer of–and, ultimately, a participant in–their rituals and mores. As a scholarship student, she constantly feels like an outsider and is both drawn to and repelled by other loners. By the time she’s a senior, Lee has created a hard-won place for herself at Ault. But when her behavior takes a self-destructive and highly public turn, her carefully crafted identity within the community is shattered.

Ultimately, Lee’s experiences–complicated relationships with teachers; intense friendships with other girls; an all-consuming preoccupation with a classmate who is less than a boyfriend and more than a crush; conflicts with her parents, from whom Lee feels increasingly distant, coalesce into a singular portrait of the painful and thrilling adolescence universal to us all.  (Read more…)

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8. A Separate Peace by John Knowles

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A dark and powerful book about loss of innocence and wartime, I never understood why this book was a required reading assignment.  I distinctly remember not liking the book when I was in school because I didn’t appreciate its themes and just saw it as a dark and boring book where not much happened.  I’m happy to say that I see its beauty and power now as an adult reader.

Goodreads Synopsis: An American classic and great bestseller for over thirty years, A Separate Peace is timeless in its description of adolescence during a period when the entire country was losing its innocence to the second world war.

Set at a boys boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.

A bestseller for more than thirty years, A Separate Peace is John Knowles crowning achievement and an undisputed American classic. (Read more…)

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9. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Sparks

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This book is set at a very conservative boarding school for girls in Scotland and school teacher Miss Jean Brodie takes it upon herself to give six of her students a bit of an ‘advanced’ education.

Goodreads Synopsis:  The classic bestselling book the subject of a play, a movie, and a song that tells the darkly fascinating story of a young, unorthodox teacher and her special, and ultimately dangerous, relationship with six of her students. (Read more…)

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10. Frindle by Andrew Clements

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Frindle is a children’s book that I read aloud with my son last year as part of a school-wide assigned reading project called One School, One Book.  Let me just say that this one is of the funniest school-based books I’ve ever read. Watching Nick Allen try to best his teacher in a battle of wits is hilarious fun, which is then followed up by a very heartwarming message at the end.  Such a fun book that my son still keeps it on his nightstand for the occasional re-read.

Goodreads Synopsis:  From bestselling and award-winning author Andrew Clements, a quirky, imaginative tale about creative thought and the power of words that will have readers inventing their own words.

Is Nick Allen a troublemaker? He really just likes to liven things up at school — and he’s always had plenty of great ideas. When Nick learns some interesting information about how words are created, suddenly he’s got the inspiration for his best plan ever…the frindle. Who says a pen has to be called a pen? Why not call it a frindle? Things begin innocently enough as Nick gets his friends to use the new word. Then other people in town start saying frindle. Soon the school is in an uproar, and Nick has become a local hero. His teacher wants Nick to put an end to all this nonsense, but the funny thing is frindle doesn’t belong to Nick anymore. The new word is spreading across the country, and there’s nothing Nick can do to stop it.  (Read more…)

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Question:  Have you read any of these titles?  Or do you have any other favorite school-based series that I haven’t mentioned here?    I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Waiting on Wednesday – Spotlight on We Are Still Tornadoes

New WoW“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about.

My “Waiting On” Wednesday selection for this week is We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen.  Okay, so I have to confess that what first piqued my interest in this book was learning that both of the authors graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law. Being a Virginia girl myself, I couldn’t help but be a bit curious.  Once I read the synopsis and the advanced praise though, I knew that beyond the initial Virginia connection, this book would be a must-read for me because it is a story of friendship and I’m a sucker for a good story about friends. Also, “set to an awesome 80’s soundtrack”?  Heck yeah!

We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen

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Publication Date: November 1, 2016

From Amazon:

Growing up across the street from each other, Scott and Cath have been best friends for most of their lives. Now they’ve graduated high school and Cath is off to college while Scott stays at home trying to get his band off the ground. Neither of them realized that their first year after high school would be so hard.

Fortunately, Scott and Cath still have each other, and it’s through their letters to each other that they survive heartache, annoying roommates, family dramas and the pressure to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives. And through it all, they realize that the only person they’ve ever wanted to turn to is each other. But does that mean they should think about being more than friends? One thing is clear: change is an inescapable part of growing up, and we share an unbreakable bond with the friends who help us navigate it…

This funny, extraordinary and deeply moving book―set to an awesome 80’s soundtrack―captures all the beautiful confusion and emotional intensity we find on the verge of adulthood…and first love.

Check out this advanced praise for We Are Still Tornadoes!

“Sweet, funny, & heartfelt!” ― Susan Elizabeth Phillips, New York Times Bestselling Author

“Scott and Cath’s letters perfectly capture the richness of their relationship. Their unflinchingly honest voices as they navigate the transition to adulthood create the book’s emotional resonance. A love story to best friends everywhere. Smart, charming, and delightful.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Cath has a rare combination of self-confidence, spunk, and sarcasm. I love, love, love her character! A realistic look at a teen friendship and growing pains. Go out and get this fun book!” ― Generation G Books

 

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I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by and check out your WoW selection for this week. 🙂